Work in Progress Weds (3/14): Untitled Short Story — Ch 2-3

March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

So, I heard that this is a thing that people do. Work in progress Weds. I’m gonna do it. Except I guess it’s Thurs now. Oh well, fuck it. This is from a short story I’ve yet to finish, and have also yet to title

A little about myself. My name is Roger, and people call me Raj, which is maybe not interesting at all. I’m searching for something, and have been about a year, although I don’t know what it is. I used to think I’d know it when I found it, but now I’m not so sure. I won twelfth place in a science fair when I was in middle school. I had tried to build a farting robot but all the teachers thought it was a cocktail shaker. My zodiacal signs are Ox and Capricorn, and I have no idea what either of them mean. I get angry at people who quote movies and TV shows instead of actually talking, and I’m terrified of most trees. Not oak trees, though; oak trees are okay. Both my parents died when I was nine. They both used to volunteer for Amnesty International, and got blown up by a land mine in Bosnia while arguing about the fastest way to a nearby bar where each of them might be able to have sex with people who were not each other.

My journey began in earnest at a rest stop near Sedona, Arizona. I was on my way back to Chicago to see a witch doctor near Prescott who was supposed to cure me of my seasonal affective disorder, but didn’t. From out of the sunset at the rest stop, a tall man with white hair tucked under a dirty baseball cap and weathered pock marks gouged into his cheeks and nose walked up to me. He asked me if I knew where the bathroom was, and I pointed him towards it. Forty-five minutes later, after the sun had gone down completely and I’d forgotten him entirely, he reappeared, thanking me, telling me that this was his first dump in three weeks, as he’d stopped eating food and instead just drank Pepsi with sugar packets added, three to six packets per twelve ounce can. He then tried to shake my hand and I nearly kicked him in my refusal. He sat down next to me and shared with me his life story, how he’d just escaped from a traveling carnival, whose owner had stiffed him on three weeks pay. I told him thank you and walked away back to my car, started the engine, and realized I was going the wrong way, but couldn’t tell anymore if there was a right way, or why. Like, I almost got onto the freeway in the wrong direction and didn’t notice until I lifted my foot off the clutch in the direction of oncoming traffic. I realized something was missing in my life, so I gave up on going back to Chicago, stopped in Flagstaff for a payphone and a shot and a beer, and arranged for a friend to sell all my things and wire me the money. The next day I began searching.

I’m in Butte now. It’s very cold. I found another peculiarly shaped rock this afternoon: this one a dead ringer for the Sydney Opera House, but I’ve stopped receiving inspiration or guidance from such things.

You have to understand, I’ve found a lot of rocks.


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